Wellness Pet Food Holdings Company, Inc. the largest independent branded premium pet food platform in North America, backed by Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., today announced that industry veteran Reed Howlett has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer.
Reed Howlett is an accomplished thought leader in the premium pet food industry, with over 25 years of relevant experience. He has served in many executive and leadership roles within the sector, including as CEO of pet food company Nature’s Variety.
“I am honored to serve as the next CEO of WellPet to build on the Company’s heritage as a pioneer in the premium-focused, natural pet food category,” said Howlett. “WellPet has an unprecedented opportunity to expand to serve more pet families by deepening our focus on providing the highest quality pet food and treats and driving nutritional innovation for our partner retailers and pet parents, and ultimately supporting the health and happiness of the pets that depend on the Company’s products.”
Howlett succeeds Camelle Kent-Rizkalla, who over the last eight years helped to significantly elevate WellPet and its brands, and will continue in an advisory capacity with WellPet. “Leading WellPet for the past several years has been the thrill of a lifetime, and I have great confidence in Reed and the entire WellPet family to further WellPet’s success serving our retail partners and pet families with the very best natural nutrition,” said Kent-Rizkalla.
The Company also announced the appointments of Jeffrey Watters and Paul Kayser to the Board of Directors. Watters joins the WellPet board with over 33 years of relevant industry experience, serving most recently as President and CEO of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. Kayser joins the WellPet board with over 28 years of relevant experience and is currently President and CEO of Clearlake portfolio company Pretium Packaging.
“We are thrilled to welcome Reed and Jeff to the Clearlake family and are excited to have Paul bring his expertise to another of our portfolio company’s boards. We look forward to working together with this team to execute on WellPet’s growth plans, driven by Clearlake’s O.P.S.® framework including organically through product innovation and potential transformational acquisitions,” said José E. Feliciano, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Clearlake. “On behalf of Clearlake and the Board, we want to thank Camelle for her exemplary service to WellPet, and we wish her the best in her future pursuits.”
“WellPet is well positioned as an innovator in the highly dynamic premium pet food and treats category,” added Arta Tabaee, Managing Director at Clearlake. “The entire sector is supported by accelerating tailwinds from the confluence of pet humanization, pet adoption, and increased spending on natural and healthy premium foods and treats. We couldn’t be more excited to have Reed, Jeff, and Paul join the WellPet team to drive increased investment and growth under our sponsorship.”
For more than 100 years, WellPet has been a pioneer in the natural pet food movement by offering nutritional recipes with the highest quality ingredients for dogs and cats. Headquartered in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, WellPet is a top global supplier of premium pet food and treats with brands including Wellness®, Old Mother Hubbard®, WHIMZEES®, Eagle Pack®, Holistic Select®, and Sojos®. Powered by its dedication to provide the very best natural food and treats for happier, healthier pets, WellPet has become a leader in the high growth premium-focused category. The Company is uniquely positioned as the largest independent North America-based pet food manufacturer, producing proprietary and exclusive formulations at its three state-of-the-art facilities in Indiana, Minnesota, and the Netherlands, supported by a supply chain spanning over 1.2 million distribution points across the globe. More information is available at www.wellpet.com.
Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. is a leading investment firm founded in 2006 operating integrated businesses across private equity, credit, and other related strategies. With a sector-focused approach, the firm seeks to partner with world-class management teams by providing patient, long-term capital to dynamic businesses that can benefit from Clearlake’s operational improvement approach, O.P.S.® The firm’s core target sectors are consumer, industrials, and technology. Clearlake currently has approximately $30 billion of assets under management, and its senior investment principals have led or co-led over 200 investments. The firm has offices in Santa Monica and Dallas. More information is available at www.clearlake.com and on Twitter @ClearlakeCap.